Photo taken on Oct. 14, 2021 shows an orchid plant at the Fuligong Greenhouses at Kunming Botanical Garden in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
Chinese researchers have discovered 31 new species of wild orchids in China, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA).
In recent years, the number of wild orchids has decreased sharply while some varieties have even become regionally extinct due to the exploitation and degradation of their native ecosystem.
In order to reinforce the protection of orchids and establish a scientific management and monitoring system, the NFGA launched a special investigation project targeting the nation's wild orchid resources in 2018.
So far, the project has discovered 31 new orchid species and 12 orchid species recorded for the first time in China. The species and distribution of wild orchids were investigated across 16 regions including Yunnan Province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region.
The project, which is expected to end in 2023, has recorded close to 1,260 orchid species, among which around 800 native orchid species are under ex-situ conservation in botanical gardens, and about 65 percent are distributed in national or provincial nature reserves, according to the NFGA.
The orchid family has important economic value and unique ornamental value. China is among the countries home to the most diverse collections of orchids on Earth, with 1,745 species belonging to 181 genera recorded so far.